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Maui Invitation Points: Duke sends SDSU, Auburn next

Zion Williamson only played seven minutes in the first half of the Duke's Maui Invitational quarterfinal matchup with San Diego…

Zion Williamson only played seven minutes in the first half of the Duke’s Maui Invitational quarterfinal matchup with San Diego State, score five points and go 1 to 5 from the floor. Two fast prisons turned Blue Devil’s star into the bench for a lot of opening stanzas, which theoretically should have given the Aztecs an advantage.

It was not from lack of attempts, but SDSU had little relief if Williamson was on the floor or not. Duke made six of his first seven three-point attempts, R.J. Barrett scored 16 points and handed four assists for the first 20 minutes alone and the blue devils went halfway up with 1

7. They could then crush in the second half and left playing time to several typical roles or even bench players heading for a 90- 64 final margin. The Aztecs had four starters in double figures, including Jalen McDaniels, but gained little production from their bench and did not respond to the waves of Duke’s offensive firepower.

Williamson did not let his early unfortunate problems ruin his day. He finished with 13 points, six rebounds and five steals, of which the fourth led to a powerful windmill dunk that brought the crowd in Lahaina to delirium.

But consider this: while Williamson, Barrett and Cam Reddish were combined for 49 years, it might be more important that others showed what they could. Point Watch Three Jones scored double numbers for the first time this season, scoring 14 and missing only one of his seven tries from the floor. Jack White continued his invaluable game on the bench, giving 12 points and eight rebounds, including slitting a pair of three. Javin DeLaurier had six boards, including three offensive, and even 7-foot center Antonio Vrankovic seized three offensive rebounds.

As well as the triumph Willimson, Barrett and Reddish, Duke will be able to overcome nights when one or more of them inevitably end up in error or have been lost. The Blue Devils’ non-freshman pieces are often an afterthought, but they will be called sometimes, even in big games.

One of the big games is now on the horizon. Duke gets No. 8 Auburn in Tuesday’s semi-final, the biggest test since the opener against Kentucky. The tigers like to play fast and shoot the three, and it would not be a surprise to see this being a shootout. Blue Devil’s most direct path to success comes from forcing Auburn to hard-shot from the circumference, limiting Tigers’ other chances and incorporating the cloth of Jared Harper and Bryce Brown. Simply put than done, but the same can be said about the tigers chances of slowing down Dukes talented stars. – Molly Geary

Auburn 88, Xavier 79 (OT)

Although it looked like the inferior team for most of the game, Xavier found a way to hang with No. 8 Auburn for almost 44 minutes in the Maui Invitational Opener. The musketeers stayed within striking distance of all the rules, and then went to the end to send the game to overtime.

That’s when Jared Harper finally decided he had gotten enough. Halfway through the extra period, Auburn’s star guard got a high ball screen, drove to the right and launched his 5 “body in the air for a filthy poster dunk. Two possessions later drove to the left and nailed a tough floater to put the tigers up four

Harper scored 25, Bryce Brown led all scorers by 26 and Auburn pulled out a rugged 88-79 victory to kick off four-game Monday shifts in Lahaina. Harper and Brown made 10 of Auburn’s 11 overtime points while an eradicated Xavier- Team Ryan Welage led the muscles by 17 points, but they could not overcome a strange game from lead guard Quentin Goodin (3-for-19 photography, seven turnovers).

It was a game like was worth March, especially in the other half. The tempo was frenet all the time, but no team could seem to buy a basket during the first 20 minutes. After the break, the shot started falling for both teams and it became a Fantastic, back and forth matchup. Auburn went up double-digit twice; both times Xavier immediately went to return to the game. And every time Xavier got close, Auburn had an answer to go away.

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Auburn shot only 31% from three but forced 22 turns on the game and transformed many of them into breakthroughs on the other end. These tigers are a top 10 team because of their two upperclassmen guards, but also because they play eight excellent athletes that make you work hard to make the ball. That said, they gave 49 points in a second half, where Xavier went 18 to 18 at the free kick. It was the second straight loss for the musketeers, although they were much more impressive than they were home loss to Wisconsin last week. If Xavier can hold on the ball and get better production from Goodin, Travis Steeles team has shooting ability and low performance conditions to make sound.

Auburn’s profit means there will be a chance to see how it matches with no. 1 team in the country on tuesday. The tigers will meet Duke in the second round and will have to make two big improvements to have a chance to pull themselves up. First, Harper, Brown and Chuma Okeke must be hot from wood. Secondly, they must crash the defensive glass. Auburn gave 16 offensive rebounds to Xavier, who will not cut it against Zion Williamson and Company. Will Ragatz

This post will be updated with subsequent quarter-final responses

Monday’s remaining quarterfinals :

Iowa State vs. Arizona, 9 th ET , ESPNU

Gonzaga vs Illinois, 11:30 pm ET, ESPN2

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